No Mow May

By Fiona Dyrhauge
Sustainability Manager, Jim and Tonic Distillery.

Research has shown that if lawns are left uncut in May, then pollen counts sky rocket which means great news for our wonderful bees, butterflies and insects.

Did you know that Jim and Tonic support No Mow May?

In 2019 British conservation charity Plantlife started a campaign called "No Mow May". Their mission is to protect threatened species of flowers, fungi and plants across the UK and raise awareness of the threats facing our ecosystems. All across the world lawns are trimmed to perfection just in time for summer, however extraordinary things can happen when we keep the lawn mower locked away for one more month.

Research has shown that if lawns are left uncut in May, then pollen counts sky rocket which means great news for our wonderful bees, butterflies and insects. Pollinators allow plants to fruit, set seed and breed. This in turn provides food and habitat for a range of other species including humans! So the health of our natural ecosystems is fundamentally linked to the health of our bees and other pollinators. Maintaining our native flora also depends on healthy pollinator populations.

Here at Jim and Tonic, increasing biodiversity and reclaiming urban green spaces is incredibly important to us. Without pollinators many of the ingredients we use to make our beloved gin would simply disappear. The world would quickly become a less vibrant place to be. Our Roobee Gin is made with British honey and rhubarb, both of which wouldn’t exist without the wonderful workings of bees

 

What are we doing at Jim and Tonic?

If you have visited any of our bars across London, you may have noticed that there isn’t exactly any lawn there, so to speak. Well whilst that may currently be the case, this year we have started a very exciting project to remedy this at our Elephant & Castle site. We have planted a British Biodiversity & Wildflower garden right in the middle of the outdoor gin and beer garden!

Using reclaimed wood we made a custom built planter to host over 100 pollinator friendly wildflowers, as well as planting perennial species such as roses & clematis. The garden was already being used to grow hops, but there was a lot of unused space which provided a perfect opportunity for British plant species to thrive. Our hope is that this garden will continue to flourish whilst providing an oasis of endemic British plantlife at the heart of the city.

 

How to get involved with No Mow May

All you have to do is:

  1. Simply avoid cutting your lawn back for No Mow May and watch the flowers fill your lawn. Register at the No Mow May website.
  2. From 23rd May to 31st May, choose a random square metre of your lawn and count the number of flowers in it. Upload the results to Plantlife's web page Every Flower Counts.
  3. You'll instantly receive a "Personal Nectar Score', which shows how much nectar is being produced by the flowers on your lawn and how many bees it can support - well done!

 

What does the future hold?

In the long term, Plantlife advocates a tiered lawn approach, with different lengths of grass to enable short-growing flowers to flourish alongside longer ones. Oli Wilson, National Plant Monitoring Scheme modeller, noted:

“May is a crucial month for flowering plants that need to get a firm foothold but we are not advocating never mowing after May. Plantlife guidance across the year recommends a layered approach to the garden cut, where shorter grass is complemented by areas of longer grass. This two-tone approach boosts floral diversity and nectar and pollen production through the year.”

We would love to hear from you about how you’re getting involved with No Mow May. Send us photos of your wild gardens and you might be in with a chance of being featured on our Instagram!